I frequently notice my internal reactions to people. On a daily basis I notice my attraction, curiosity, aversion, and avoidance towards others. I also notice my judgements about others, which are not always nice. I have grown to understand that these reactions tell me more about myself than about the other person. Have you heard the saying “When you point your finger at someone else, you have three fingers pointing back at yourself”? Well, there’s a lot of truth in that. We are all mirrors to each other. Each person we interact with reflects back to us various aspects of ourselves. We see in others what we want to see and most commonly, what we react to is what we like or do not like about ourselves. It’s not always easy to see the connection between you and your reaction/judgement to others. Most times our judgements feel like facts about others. But trust me, there’s a lot of “you” in that judgement.
Most recently, I met someone who I noticed I was having a huge reaction to. In her presence I felt fear. She wasn’t a literal threat to me. She didn’t do anything overtly to provoke fear. In fact, she is a very vulnerable person. Everytime I had to interact with her, all I wanted to do was run out of the room and hide under my bed. For days it bothered me as I knew this had nothing to do with her, yet I couldn’t pin-point what she represented for me. I decided to process this with my counselor, and slowly, the layers began to peel back.
This person mirrors to me, my core wound and how I still react from this place. Although this person lives a very different type of life than me, I am able to see in her how she compromises herself in the name of safety and self-loathing. Even though I have grown a bigger space within me for self-love and self-care, there is still enough self-hate in me to affect the choices I make in my life.
I had to ask myself, “Where do I compromise myself in the name of safety?”, “Where can I cultivate more self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance?”, “How have I been self-hateful towards myself?”.
These questions and answers are never easy for me. I usually have an “oh shit” reaction, and maybe a bit of sadness. Then I remember that there is nothing to fix, because I am not broken. My journey isn’t about healing a broken self, but healing a disconnect from the divine self.
What is the divine self? Well, it’s a loaded term for starters, and probably a whole blog post in itself. Like many words and terms, “divine self” means something different to everyone. The simplest way for me to describe the divine self is: It’s the part of me that is not influenced by ego.
Now, the ego gets a bad rap, and I have been pondering for quite some time what the ego is good for. As I write this, a question is forming. What if the ego helps me by reacting to others, so that I can reconnect to my divine self?
UPDATE:A couple of hours after I posted this entry, I found this in my Facebook feed:
“In one of the Upanishads it says, when the glow of a sunset holds you and you say ‘Aha,’ that is the recognition of the divinity. And when you say ‘Aha’ to an art object, that is a recognition of divinity. And what divinity is it? It is your divinity, which is the only divinity there is. We are all phenomenal manifestations of a divine will to live, and that will and the consciousness of life is one in all of us, and that is what artwork expresses.”
Joseph Campbell, “Creativity,” The Mythic Dimension, p.154
Don’t you love serendipity?